Collection A2012-42 - Donna Grescoe Collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Donna Grescoe Collection

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording

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Reference code

CA UCECA A2012-42

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • [1934?]-2007 (Creation)
    Grescoe, Paul

Physical description area

Physical description

67 linear cm of materials
96 Newspaper Clippings
53 Correspondence & Miscellaneous Papers
51 Photographs
19 Programmes
15 Vinyl Records
4 Scrapbooks
3 Magazines
2 Large Portfolios
1 Diary
1 Mini Cassette

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Paul Grescoe was born in Winnipeg in 1939 where he began his career with Canadian Press, later working for The Brandon Sun, The Winnipeg Tribune and The Toronto Telegram before becoming a staff writer and editor with The Canadian Magazine and Maclean's. He has written books on business (including The money rustlers, 1985; Jimmy, the autobiography of Jim Pattison, 1988; The mavericks: lessons learned from the west's winning entrepreneurs, 1999; Flight path: how Westjet is flying high in Canada's most turbulent industry, 2004; and Secret riches: adventures of an unreformed oilman, 2004); publishing (The merchants of Venus; inside Harlequin and the empire of romance, 1996, and 101 uses for this book, 1996); travel (Vancouver; visions of a city, 1993) ; and crime fiction (Blood vessel, 1993, and Flesh wound which won the Crime writers of Canada prize for best first novel in 1991). As co-owners of Vancouver Magazine with lawyer Ron Stern and artists Iain and Ingrid Baxter, Paul and Audrey Grescoe founded Calgary and Edmonton Magazines and were the first editors of Calgary Magazine. They have collaborated on 5 books: Fragments of paradise, 1995; Alaska: the cruise lover's guide, 1998; The book of letters: 150 years of private Canadian correspondence, 2002; The book of war letters: 100 years of Canadian wartime correspondence, 2003; and The book of love letters, 2005. Paul and Audrey Grescoe were co-owners of Tribute Books, a publishing company in Vancouver and Toronto.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Donna Grescoe was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 17 November 1927 and began playing the violin at the age of five. She gained early renown for her abilities and at age 14 was described as a “genius” by British pianist, composer, and Royal College of Music professor Arthur Benjamin (1893-1960), an adjudicator at the Manitoba Musical Festival. Three years earlier, as an 11-year-old, Donna won a $5,000 scholarship to the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago (1938-1939) and also studied briefly with Mischa Mischakoff (1895-1981), concertmaster of the NBC Symphony Orchestra, in New York City. While in New York Donna performed on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, American radio’s most popular talent show, and at the Ukrainian American Festival, part of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In the fall of 1943, more than one year after a benefit concert organized by the publishers of the Winnipeg Evening Tribune financed the creation of the Donna Grescoe Educational Trust Fund, Donna resumed her studies in New York City. This time she spent four years (1943-1947) studying with violinist Mischel Piastro (1891-1970), a prominent concertmaster and conductor, with little teaching experience.

Donna’s professional career as a concert violinist was launched on 1 October 1946 before a sold-out house of 4,500 at the Winnipeg Civic Auditorium. Her New York City debut at Town Hall on 3 February 1947 was attended by representatives of Winnipeg’s political and business elite. A year later, on 30 January 1948, Donna performed at Carnegie Hall. She would go on a concert tour of Canada in 1948-49, and during her early career performed with renowned groups such as the Toronto and Montreal Symphony Orchestras. Despite her early success, however, she received few opportunities to perform on stage in concert. Refusing to remain idle, in 1953 she began to perform at nightclubs. She would later play at the Canadian National Exhibition and on television, including Toast of the Town hosted by Ed Sullivan in 1955. She married Bjorn Guillichsen later that same year and gave her last solo performance in 1959. She would then move back to Winnipeg and briefly perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra from 1974-1979. Following her concert career Donna also became a founding member of the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts and, in addition, also became one of its teachers. She also commissioned fourteen musical compositions. In 1988 she would retire from teaching and also married again, this time to cellist Charles Dojack. She died in Richmond, British Columbia on 17 August 2012.

Custodial history

This accession was donated in 2012 by Paul Grescoe.

Scope and content

This fonds contains records related to the life and career of violinist Donna Grescoe. It is predominantly made up of newspaper clippings – both individual and contained within scrapbooks – that contain interviews with Donna, reviews, advertisements for upcoming shows, etc. The fonds also includes correspondence, programmes for concerts and recitals, a journal Donna kept during several tours, three bound scrapbooks, and two large, unboxed portfolio-style scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain a variety of photographs and news clippings related to Donna and her life and musical career. Also part of the fonds is a unique (non-commercial) album of 78 rpm recordings of Donna Grescoe’s 1947 Towne Hall concert performance.

Notes area

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No restrictions on access.

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Users must abide by relevant copyright legislation.

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Rules for Archival Description (RAD).



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created March 2021 by Andrew Webster.

Language of description

  • English

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